Romain Grosjean, Haas, Silverstone, 2020

Grosjean prefers WEC and Formula E to IndyCar: ‘Ovals may scare me’

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In the round-up: Romain Grosjean rules out a possible switch to IndyCar if he cannot stay in Formula 1 next year.

What they say

Haas are known to be considering alternative drivers for the 2021 F1 season:

Most likely I’ll stay in Europe. In America obviously IndyCar is a beautiful championship, but I’m not really tempted by ovals, and they even may scare me so I don’t really want to do ovals.

So for America, there’s a few endurance championships. But I think in a future, Hypercars in Le Mans 24 Hours and the World Endurance Championship can be nice. Formula E is definitely an option. There are some good drivers up there and some good teams.

In Formula 1, obviously everyone can do the maths and see what the seats available are.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

@Kaiie raised another concern over Sunday’s Formula 2 crash:

Interesting to hear more of the positives rather than the negatives regarding this incident. I saw it more as a warning of another potential safety hazard: these low-nosed cars like to dig under the barriers, and can you imagine if one of the drivers was trapped under the barrier with the car on fire and the fire marshals taking minutes to put out the fire?

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On this day in F1

  • 25 years ago today Michael Schumacher chased down and passed Jean Alesi to win the European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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62 comments on “Grosjean prefers WEC and Formula E to IndyCar: ‘Ovals may scare me’”

  1. Beyond announcing the switch to the Indy Grand Prix circuit, NASCAR released their schedule for the 2021 season and it includes no less then 6 road course events. Long time staples Watkins Glen and Sonoma will return to the schedule after being absent in 2020 due to COVID-19 and the Charlotte Roval will also return. The other two road course are Road America, a track that NASCAR Cup ran one race at back in 1956 and Circuit of the Americas. COTA will replace one of the current races at Texas Motor Speedway.

    Finally, NASCAR also announced that Bristol Motor Speedway will be covered in dirt for its March event. The announcement came on the 50th anniversary of the last dirt race to be run by the NASCAR Cup series.

    1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      1st October 2020, 5:52

      This is a huge deal. The schedule has been relatively the same for 20 years give or take races here or there but a change as big as this is a long long time coming.

    2. Yeah…thanks US RaceFans, COTA is now another tintop track instead of openwheel. But they do have to follow the money.
      Then again, I guess 12 seconds was too much.

      1. @uneedafinn2win

        I didn’t know race tracks were permitted to only host certain types of racing. Besides, NASCAR is hardly the first tin top series to race at COTA. Aside from the Sports car world, the V8 Supercars made a stop their back in 2013.

      2. Josh (@canadianjosh)
        1st October 2020, 14:36

        Read your comment about 5 times and still don’t understand what your getting at.

      3. @canadianjosh I think @uneedafinn2win is talking about the 12 second difference in lap time between F1 and IndyCar, which was always going to struggle to attract a crowd to COTA regardless of how fast they were.

        1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
          1st October 2020, 15:53

          Oh ok makes sense, IndyCar racing on any track that hosts an F1 race would seem dull but NASCAR is a different beast.

          1. The key word being “Beast”.

    3. Wow, a dirt race in this day and age sounds like a one off that might even get me to watch!

  2. As usual, Alonso is right.

    1. @jblank

      Yep, always been the case with F1, past and present. Can’t really remember any year where a driver in a sub par package won the title. Certainly not in the years I’ve been following F1. Keke Rosberg? Won the title after just winning one race all season?

      The only drivers who have come close to doing so was possibly Schumacher in the early years at Ferrari and Alonso himself in 2012. Obviously, then you can point to both have them having all the teams focus, but I guess that was warranted given the circumstances.

      Put Lewis in a Red Bull or Ferrari of 2019 vintage, I doubt he’d achieve better results than Max, but perhaps better results than Leclerc. However, if you put any of the better drivers on the grid into the Merc, they may not dominate, but rest assured, the title will be won.

      1. Lewis would definitely have won more races in that Red Bull. For starters, he would have made far less errors and crashed out less times. The Red Bull is also not as slow as Horner is constantly making it out to be. Estimates put it at a 20-30bhp deficit to the Mercedes engine.

        For example, at Sochi, it was found that Lewis made up most of his lap times in the slow corners, and Verstappen was actually faster than he was in the straights. This was not only due to the tow Verstappen received from Bottas.

        As for the 2019 Ferrari, there is absolutely no doubt that he would have won the championship in that car. That is the general consensus.

        1. Far less errors? The only error I can remember seeing from Verstappen last year was Belgium and he wasn’t even wholly to blame there.
          Verstappen had a brilliant 2019, a very mature season. 2018 was when he still made a lot of errors.
          Regarding the top speed, there’s a thing called setup. Also, top speed doesn’t determine the overall pace of a car.

          The general consensus is that Hamilton would have won the championship in last year’s Ferrari? Who says that then?
          The car was decent in qualifying and he would have taken a few wins in it, but the championship? My take is that he wouldn’t even have beaten Bottas.
          Even if he did win it, it wouldn’t be an “absolutely no doubt” situation.

          1. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
            1st October 2020, 14:22

            I agree. Never been a huge Max fan, but it has to be said that he has matured a lot and has been very consistent lately. He is close to being a very complete driver. Hard for me to say, but I think he maybe the best on the grid atm.

        2. I think you’re confusing 2018 and 2019. There is indeed widespread agreement that Hamilton would have won in the 2018 Ferrari. Not so much the 2019 car, although it’s a definite possibility in my opinion.

      2. I think Hamilton would struggle massively going to RBR/Ferrari/McLaren after basically locking out the front row with Rosberg and Bottas for the past seven seasons.

        The guy has spent over half his career now driving for a team that almost always locks out the front row.

        Look at how sloppy he was when he was challenged by Albon in Brazil and Austria.

      3. @jaymenon10, although you need a good car to be champion, you don’t need to have the best package in the bunch. Alonso himself was champion the Renault that was a very good car but IMO was not the absolute best car of the field. In some tracks yes but others not and he had to fight hard with drivers from other teams.
        So whilst I agree that is very difficult to win in a car that is clearly below other(s), and as you said Alonso was close in 2012, you can be champion with the 2nd or 3rd best car (overall) of the field, if the margin to the top car(s) is not big, of course.

    2. Hamilton would absolutely cane Alonso in the same car.

      1. If I remember correct he already did :)

        1. Right, he ‘caned’ him by 0 points. Don’t get me wrong, Hamilton had a superb season, especially as a debutant, and he probably deserved the title but it’s just about the most closely matched any team mates have been that I can recall. Alonso was quicker in qualifying, it was more or less equal in the races and alonso made more key errors, so Hamilton edges it in my eyes.

          1. Who cares about Alonso, the real fight would be Lewis and Max in the same car. Never gonna happen though cause of Hamilton, whereas Max said he wouldnt mind. I guess that says enough Lewis…

          2. Mayrton. I dont remember Max saying yes to Mercedes when he came into the sport. And I dont remember him making himself available to Mercedes before he re-signed with RB. Have you got a link to this story where Max made himself available to Mercedes and Hamilton blocked it?

            Still with Leclerc almost certain to have a performance clause in his contract to get out of Ferrari we might see him going there instead of Max. And at least Leclerc has shown he is not scared of going up against a multiple WDC. Max; not so much.

            Max could be the new Alonso as Leclerc picks up Hamiltons baton and goes on to dominate the next decade with Mercedes.

      2. @riptide Quite the ridiculous argument. Why would Max say yes to Mercedes when he came into the sport, when he did so under the RBR umbrella, and when Mercedes wasn’t asking for him? And why would he make himself available to Mercedes when they weren’t looking, and Max has been happy to stay with his RBR family?

        So based on nonsense you’ve decided Max is afraid to go up against a WDC whereas because Ferrari hired CL that makes him unafraid to face a WDC? Alrighty then.

        The odds of CL going to Mercedes and them remaining dominant with him over the next decade are extremely slim, since for one among many reasons Max is better than CL, and in the new chapter it is unlikely that any one team will dominate for a decade. I predict it is highly likely no one team will dominate again like MS/Ferrari and LH/Mercedes. I predict that in the new more driver vs driver series Max will prevail and won’t always need the WCC car to do it and it should start to happen more often that a strong second place WCC car will suffice, at least better odds of that than with the decades old clean air dependent cars.

        1. I nearly didnt bother after your first para. In 2014 Max had an offer to join RB programme or Mercedes. He chose RB. Fact. Just think he could have spent the last four years alongside Hamilton. And Mercedes ‘looks’ every year, thats why Bottas gets one year contracts. But Max would rather have the comfort that RB and a weak teammate gives him. He could have put himself on the market instead of re-signing. If you dont buy a lottery ticket, dont complain when you dont win.
          And no not based on my nonsense, based on the nonsense I was responding to. Max had an opportunity to go to the Merc, he chose RB. Max could have put himself very publicly on the market before Bottas signed. He chose not to. So nothing to do with Merc or Hamilton. Despite how some are desperate for it to be so.
          Assuming both Max and CL have get out clauses based on performance I would suggest its highly likely that CL can exercise his; where Max can’t. So nothing to do with who is best, or talent.
          And whilst I respect your ‘predictions’ I’d bet given the option of going to Merc or staying with RB from 22, Max would chose the Merc. And as for predictions, mine is that all this nonsense about modes, qualifying, format changes, etc would cease the day they put Max and Ham in the same team. Pretty sure Bernie would have made it happen one way or another. Clutching at straws I suppose one can hope that Williams have big pockets and big plans and want to have Russel lead the team, and the pressure is to great that Merc have to sign Max.

          1. Only have a moment right now, but I too have only gotten a few sentences in with your comment. The fact is Max was offered by Mercedes to join their driver programme, not to join Mercedes the F1 team, and a week later he agreed to join the actual STR team and be in F1 itself, not in a driver programme. It is completely inaccurate and disingenuous to suggest Max could have been alongside LH when at the time Max was seeing LH and NR firmly on the team so he opted to join F1 itself. You’re actually suggesting he would have been better off being in a driver programme and hoping after several years to be alongside LH, with presumably then no F1 experience? Anyway, many more comments I could make but I haven’t read past your first few sentences and I’ll have to come back to this later. To suggest Max not signing to Merc’s driver programme in 2014 equates to Max being afraid to go up against a WDC as per your first comment prior to this one, is utter nonsense.


          2. Given who and what I was replying to. That the reason Max is not in Mercedes is down to Ham, then Im not sure what you want to argue/disagree about.
            So to cut this short, are you agreeing with the poster I was responding to in kind, and stating that the reason Max isnt in a Mercedes is because of Hamilton and not because of any decisions made by Max?

          3. @riptide Just to recap, no I don’t think LH blocked Max going to Mercedes, because I don’t think they ever offered Max a drive on the team, just in their driver programme in 2014 before Max was in F1. A week after they offered him the driver programme he accepted to go straight into F1 with STR. So you had that backwards when you said Max ‘had an opportunity to join RB programme or Mercedes. ‘ Sounds more like Mercedes wanted to get a lock on him and put him in a development program to keep him from everyone else, as they already had Nico and LH in 2014.

            But you are assuming VB’s one-year contracts mean they were legit looking for other drivers each year, and that Max could have asserted himself and become LH’s teammate. Pretty sure that is just a fantasy of your’s that you have created by making some big assumptions and speculations.

            And through all that you have boiled it down to Max therefore being afraid of having a WDC for a teammate, unlike CL, because things didn’t fall into place the way you are imagining it could have if he had chosen, like it was solely up to him, to go be LH’s teammate.

            When you have solid evidence that Max could have, had he chosen, gone to Mercedes, like it was solely up to him, and that he didn’t because he was afraid of LH, let us know. Otherwise, your notion is ridiculous. Just because Max has chosen to stay with the family that has raised him in F1, and by many people’s opinion has made RBR ‘his’ team, doesn’t automatically mean he cowered at the thought of going to LH’s team. It just means he chose to stay put. DR left supposedly to make Renault his team, and now he’ll try to do that at Mac. Why didn’t he just go to Mercedes? After all, you seem to think that all a driver has to do is assert himself as being available and he’ll get the ride. It was even strongly rumoured he’d be off to Mercedes, or Ferrari.

            So you’ve given me two select options…one that Max isn’t at Merc because LH blocked that from happening, and two that he’s not there because of a decision made by Max. I reject both. He’s not there because there was never an offer from Mercedes, nor would Max have been interested anyway. He’s obviously only been interested in being at RBR. If you want to fantasize that that all adds up to Max being afraid of a WDC teammate unlike CL, fill your boots. But you couldn’t be more wrong. We’ve seen and heard enough already that Max fears nobody on the grid, but that doesn’t mean they have all options available to them nor that all decisions are equally prudent.

      3. @ppzzus What same car though? Would you have LH in his 7-time WCC/WDC car that fits him like a glove? Would FA get to have the same fits-him-like-a-glove dominant car too? Or would they both be in cars new to them?

        I would say it would be splitting hairs between them either way and a dual would come down to the wire. Methinks you’re picturing an LH whose had the luxury of his car for a long time, vs how FA did at Mac before he left F1, and deciding based on those performances that LH would dominate. I really doubt it. Apples to apples in terms of car and time with it, I think they’d be awfully close.

    3. I see this as Alonso making the point that he’s better than Lewis. However Alonso didn’t beat him when they had the same package and Lewis was a rookie, so…
      To me the most important point he is trying to make he is trying to make, is that he himself (Alonso) has won without having the best package (the Renault in 2005 and 06 might not have been considered the best car of all, above the rest, since his fights were a driver from another team and not only his teammate) and was also in the hunt in a car that was clearly not the best (Ferrari 2012). And so far it seems that Lewis can only be champion if he has the best car.
      Whilst that is true since 2014 (and he lost one to his teammate), I don’t think Lewis had the absolute best package in his McLaren years. In 2008 Ferrari had more wins and Lewis was still champion.
      However it is true that in the V6 Hybrid era, the Mercedes is the best package by far, although Ferrari was closer in 2018

      1. Alonso and Hamilton were are a match back then (when rookie hamilton got 20,000+ km in testing in the car before first race, plenty of time to master. more tgan a seasons worth if testing and racing now) and are likely to be a match now. Simple as that. If you have watxhed f1 for 26 years like me, you know who are the talented drivers. Hamilton and Alonso are equal great drivers. Alonso beat Schumacher, and then Hamilton beat Alonso… Yet commentators like you then say Schumacher is better than both.

    4. Scott Montanari
      1st October 2020, 10:04

      Schumacher had it written in contracts that Barrichello and Massa weren’t allowed to beat him…
      Hamilton has never had this put into contracts.
      Schumacher did many great things, but beating his teammates when it was written into the contract before the season even began, is not one of them.

      1. We will never know what is in their contracts since it’s confidential. Who knows, Bottas may have a contract saying he can’t challenge Lewis as well. Every year he starts strong until the new contract is signed, where he just fades for no reason.

        1. Scott Montanari
          1st October 2020, 10:46

          No, it is well known.
          They are on equal footing until one of them is too far ahead or needs to assist the other in securing the championship.
          I wouldn’t be surprised if Mercedes put more trust in Hamilton to pull it off. Any team owner would put more faith in their most successful driver. But I do believe if Bottas was ahead throughout the season, like with Rosberg, he would have as much of a shot at the title.
          Like Hamilton or not, I think we can all unfortunately agree that Bottas isn’t the challenge we hoped he would be. Especially if compared to Rosberg who I think was pretty underrated.

      2. 2 things you didn’t realise: firstly, you have never read the contracts you are talkin about as they were never made public, so dont make up crap. Secondly, Massa and Barrichello beat him many time (but you think they were not allowed), by the end of 2006, Massa was regularly faster than Schumacher and then managed to nearly win the world championship in 2008.

        1. When was Massa regularly faster than Schumacher? Schumacher outqualified him in all of the races except for Turkey and Japan. In both races Michael had a lot more fuel on board as it was fuel-affected qualifying. In Turkey, Massa won because of an early SC wich dropped Schumacher behind Alonso as he had to stack behind Massa.

          Schumacher was only beaten in race in Malaysia and later in Brazil, where he had to start 10th because of a failure in qualifying and was a lap behind after a flat tyre. You’re making up facts as you go.

    5. The best package was Ferrari so its still yours to lose. Also it ignores the team mate and Alonso should know all about team mates in the best car. Only Nico courtesy of a super human effort that left him promptly retiring afterwards has won a WDC in the same car as Lewis. Nico looks more and more the outlier but fair play to him, he beat the best and so for that moment was the best.

    6. Yes Alonso is right, you can’t win in modern F1 without the best car. We already know that Mercedes will be World Champions in 2020 and ’21 and Lewis will be an 8 times World Champion at the end of 2021. The team with the most money, best resources, best management, best drivers cannot fail to win. Ross Brawn put everything in place to dominate as soon as the Hybrid rule changes came into effect in 2014 and since then Toto Wolff has had the job of maintaining that level of performance.

      ’14,’15,’16 was the contest of who’s better Lewis or Nico? ’17-’18, Ferrari had a car to challenge but driver and team errors let them down (For me these are probably Lewis’ most valuable World Titles due to the external challenge that he faced from another team with a car that was quicker than the Mercedes at quite a few races). ’19,’20,’21 we’re back to the Mercedes World Championship, who’s better Lewis or Bottas? We already know it’s Lewis.

      Roll on 2022. With the new rules and restrictions we should have cars that are much closer in performance. Maybe a few tenths rather than a Mercedes that is a second a lap faster in qualifying than the third placed car. Finally we’ll be able to see a World Championship won by the best overall driver. Hamilton v Verstappen v Alonso v Ricciardo v Vettel v Leclerc v Norris v Sainz.

      Bring it on!

  3. What a ridiculous click bate headline re Alonso. Disappointing journalism.

    1. Poor grammar, poor spelling. Disappointing comment.

      1. Poor you too with your negative comnentary lol

  4. Having a young family and a wife with a career it would be tough to see Roman picking up and moving to America. It would be a similar commitment to the few American kids that pick up and move to Europe hoping the F1 establishment will take them seriously (they never do). Which is too bad as I think Indycars would suite his driving style.

  5. No matter what the future holds for Grosjean he has and is mastering another skill set that he can use for the rest of his life. And that skillset refers to building Scale Formula One models. He seems keen on the Tamiya product. Driving racecars is one thing but collect Grand Prix cars and build them yourself gives back a feeling of joy from using your hands and being creative Is a great and satisfying feeling. Building Historic Subjects from all eras is a very internal rewarding experience. Tighten your lids before packing your kit. All will be fine. Model builders lives matter.

  6. Ahhh Fernando is back.

  7. Can some-one shed some light on why Grosjean is in F1? Does he bring money? I dont understand why you would want him

    1. @Mayrton – He is supposed to be very fast when the car falls into the right zone for him, and very good at development feedback. Please note the words “supposed” – I personally don’t see it, but I’m not the person making decisions on his continued employment.

      1. Thanks. You would think there is enough talent around that doesn’t need a car to be in the sweet spot like Romain needs (and Vettel apparently). But maybe not and that would explain Grosjean (&Vettel) still being around.

    2. Grosjean’s quote probably means it’s the end of his stint in F1, and although I was initially impressed with his raw speed, I now can’t take more of his constant whining and would like to see him go. He also was way too error-prone to be rated much even if he had flashes of brilliance (remember some of the Lotus drives?).

    3. At least Grosjean is good at car feedback/development. The one who is truly useless at that team is Magnussen

      1. I think its the car actually. Magnussen’s 9 car gain on lap 1 in Sochi was a masterclass in measured aggression. He often doesn’t deliver but he brings sponsorship and some ability as well as stability to a kit car team

  8. “…He knows he needs the best package as well.”

    Lewis has won 3 World Championships without the best equipment.

    1. Three? You can make the argument for one (in 2008) but the Mercedes has been the class of the field since 2014.

      He’s also failed to win at least one championship despite having the best car (in 2012).

      1. He’s also failed to win at least one championship despite having the best car (in 2012).

        The McLaren wasn’t reliable that year, but he did lose a championship to Rosberg

        1. “…but he did lose a championship to Rosberg”

          Erm, incidentally with reliability playing a massive role in that. People always talk of the engine failure in Malaysia, while it gave Rosberg the benefit of finishing 2nd to Hamilton in all the remaining races, they don’t talk of all the Turbo/hybrid issues Hamilton suffered early in the season which meant starting much further back in the races, giving Rosberg a free run out front.

          1. But in the end he had the same car as Rosberg, who did win a championship. So that counts as a championship lost in the best car.

          2. Uh, you mentioned that Hamilton didn’t win the title in 2012 because his car wasn’t reliable enough, which was also the case in 2016.

      2. It’s really odd how you can make an argument for 2008 but not 2017 and 2018? 2008 was a nip-an-tuck season while in 2017/2018 the Ferrari had decent points advantage mid-way through those seasons with a more drivable car that had a clear power advantage.

        2012? What? That year was a joke in terms of reliability, didn’t you notice Hamilton leaving the team that year because of how many times his equipment let him down?

        1. Nope, Merc had the quicker car.
          CrankyYankeeF1 breaks down this misconception that ferrari had the quicker car, he uses a lot of data to establish this fact. The video is on youtube, channel name: CrankyYankeeF1.

          1. Yeah, i’ve seen his opinion, and all i took from it was that Ferrari had a better chassis for the first half of the year, merc for the 2nd half, the difference maker being Hamilton took more opportunities than Vettel, we didn’t need an hour long video to confirm that Vettel was pointing the wrong way on the track too often and Ferrari failed on strategies more often.

      3. Here we go again. Get a room, with some soft play areas

  9. I actually like what what alonao had to say. Its the same for every driver. They all want to drive the best car out there. And not only that but to drive with as few mistakes as possible and taking the car to the edge. To drive as slow as possible while still winning the race.

  10. After actually reading the article, Fernando is a lot more complimentary about Lewis than the headline would suggest. He simply points out that much like himself with Toyota at Le Mans, you’re unlikely to figure without a top package, which is entirely true (‘We both understand we need the machine’ ‘I know if I was in another car, maybe I would not be able to win’). He doesn’t even say that he necessarily thinks he would beat Lewis given the same package (‘You never know, but that would be interesting to see’). So before everyone jumps in, here are a few more choice quotes: ‘He’s an amazing talent, a good thing for the sport’, ‘[He] deserve[s] it’, ‘…you need to deliver something extra which he does’.

    1. @tomd11
      Thanks for adding those comments. I also fell in the same mistake of commenting purely based on the quoted text.

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